Theater-goers should “Ease on Down the Road” to North Springs Charter High School to enjoy a wonderful, energetic performance of the Tony award-winning musical “The Wiz.”
“The Wiz” is an urbanized retelling of L. Frank Baum’s classic children’s novel, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” long considered America’s first fairy tale. William F. Brown’s script, with music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls, closely follows Baum’s original story celebrating the importance of family, home and love in our lives.
North Springs’ production of “The Wiz” utilizes the talents of approximately 47 students on the stage. When adding the talents and skills of the technical crew and members of the orchestra, the number of participants swells to about 150, with many students either handling multiple roles or even roles and technical jobs. And their efforts are well worth your support. Guided by Director Tyler Owens with support from faculty members Joel King (Technical Director), Van Craven (Musical Director), Michael Brown (Conductor) and Andrea Smith (Choreography Supervisor), the students take us on a joyous trip down the yellow brick road to Emerald City and finally back to Dorothy’s beloved Kansas.
Playing the four travelers on the yellow brick road are Miko Harper (Dorothy), Myron Parker (Scarecrow), Jonathan Bynoe (Tinman), and Princess-Zenita Jasper (Lion). These four have a wonderful chemistry together on the stage, each providing strong acting and vocal performances demanded by their roles. Harper brings a wonderful childlike charm to Dorothy. Parker, Bynoe and Jasper each showed powerful gymnastic-like movements needed for each of their characters while also perfectly mastering the comic aspects of their roles. Together, these four form the core of the cast, and their superb ensemble performance provides the glue on which the rest of this talented cast can build.
Sarah Daniels portrays The Wiz, easily navigating between the extremes of the character. Shay’na Fields is delicious as Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West. Rayyah Bland is hilarious as the good witch Addaperle while Nicole Webb is equally charming as her sister, the good witch Glinda.
Rounding out the cast are Margaret Turner (Aunt Em, Lord High Underling and Assistant Director), Joshua Baker (Uncle Henry), Turner Outlaw (Gatekeeper), Ariana Gilmore (Messenger), Darius Moreland (Head Winged Monkey), Kinsey Farmer (First Munchkin), Giani Gates (Second Munchkin), NyAsia Kelley (Third Munchkin), Jazmyn Vialet (Fourth Munchkin), Rachael Simpson (Fifth Munchkin), Madison Cotton (First Mouse), Sara Dardik (Second Mouse), Nicole Webb (First Citizen), Alexis Hitchmon (Second Citizen), Ashley Green (Third Citizen/Toto), and Amia Glenn (Fourth Citizen).
Rayyah Bland serves as the Ensemble Leader. Additional members of the Ensemble include Selena Betts, Terrill Burke, Erik Cody, Ben Cohen, Mason Cotton, Ilan Davis, Nia DuBose, Bethany Ford, Moon Hamilton, Kameron Harris, Chyna Howard, Jalexis James, Jáda Johnson, Amaya Jones, Pariss Lindsey, Faith Lumpkins, Yasmin Luz, Taylor McKinney, Darius Moreland, Kharlhentia Sejour, Keira Smith, Jordan Thompson, Zay Warren, and Kayla Wilson.
Technical assistance is provided by the following students: Katie Franklin (Assistant Director), Scott Fineberg (Student Technical Director), Lamarcus Pearson (Assistant Musical Director), Shay’na Fields (Head Choreographer), Rachel Miller (Stage Manager), Stephanie Bullock and Joia Fanning (Assistant Stage Managers), Sarah Daniels, Khamet Dukes and Princess-Zenita Jasper (Costumer Designers), Rayyah Bland (Assistant Costume Designer), Cameron Leeson (Hair and Makeup Designer), Sara Dardik (Assistant Hair and Makeup Designer), Andrea Jovic (Lighting Designer), Grant Showell (Assistant Lighting Designer), Brian Gallardo (Master Electrician), Ben Engelman (Projection Designer), NyAsia Kelley (Props Designer), Jake Bardack (Set Designer and Floor Manager), Ben Miller (Assistant Set Designer), Shayan Lalianpour (Master Carpenter), Zach Maycumber (Sound Designer), Jason Templeton (Assistant Sound Designer), Ben Miller (Deck Chief), Binta Diallo, Samiyah Ellison, Deja Gray, Aji John, Amauri Mathis, and Zaria Spears (Run Crew) and Drew Anthony, Krisaja Boyd, Shelcey Litter, Zussy Okoyomon, and Briana Scott (Costume/Makeup Crew).
Orchestra members include the following students: Mariah Andrews, David Chernyak, Marlene Cruz-Rodriguez, Elizabeth Gilbert, Mekhi Gladden, Allen Hornsby, Terell Lopez, Noah Maxwell, Devin Nash, Lamarcus Pearson, Allie Sinatra, Ben Sinatra, Nicholas Sinatra, John Smith, Jared Solovei, Rachael Stowell, Xavier Toodle-Jones, and Aliza Walker
“The Wiz” continues Wednesday, April 20 and Thursday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the main stage theatre at North Springs Charter High School, 7447 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. The show is recommended for all ages. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for senior adults and $8 for students and may be purchased at the door or online at northspringstickets.com.